Any member of the Anatidae family,
probably the Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos, Canard colvert.
12 occurrences (7 duck, 2 ducks, 2 wild-ducks, 1 mallard)
TMP 2 2 129 Swum ashore, man, like a duck:
TMP 2 2 130 I can swim like a duck, I'll be sworn.
TMP 2 2 132 Though thou canst swim like a duck,
MND 5 1 270 O dainty duck! O dear!
WT 4 4 318 My dainty duck, my dear-a?
1H4 2 2 96 p no more valour in that Poins than in a wild-duck.
1H4 4 2 20 p worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild duck.
H5 2 3 53 And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck:
TRO 3 2 52 p the falcon as the tercel,for all the ducks i'th' river.
TRO 4 4 12 Here, here, here he comes. Ah, sweet ducks!
ANT 3 10 20 Claps on his sea-wing, and (like a doting mallard)
PER 3 ch 49 That, as a duck for life that dives,
To swim like a fish or a duck is proverbial (TILLEY F328). When Stephano asks Trinculo:
Here; Swear, then, how thou escap'dst.
Swum ashore, man, like a duck. I can swim like a
duck, I'll be sworn.
(2 2 127-9)
In 1 Henry IV, Falstaff mocks Poins and insinuates that Poins flees upon the approach of danger, "as a duck for life that dives" (PER 3 ch 49):
And the Prince and Poins be not two
arrant cowards, there's no equity stirring; there's no
more valour in that Poins than in a wild-duck.
(2 2 94-6)
Or about his soldiers:
such as fear the report of a caliver
worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild duck.
(4 2 19-20)
In Antony and Cleopatra:
She once being loof'd,
Claps on his sea-wing, and (like a doting mallard)
Leaving the fight in height, flies after her:
(ANT 3 10 19-21)
RIDLEY, in his edition, remarks:
Rolfe compares with 1 Henry IV [quoted above], but the allusion here is rather to the drake's ["mallard" at the time meant wild duck male] aptness to follow the coy female than to his timidity.
About "duck-hunting", HARTING comments (p. 237):
[H]unting a tame duck in the water with spaniels, was a favourite amusement in Shakespeare's day. "Besides the clear streams that ran into the Thames, old London boasted of innumerable wells, now lost, sullied, or bricked up. There was Holy-well, Clement's-well [...]. The duck-hunting in these pools, and at Islington, was a favourite amusement with the citizens" (Thornbury's Shakespeare's England).
And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck:
(H5 2 3 53)
Reference to the more aristocratic occupation of falconry, especially to the "flight at the river" (see TERCEL) is found in:
the falcon as the tercel,for all the ducks i'th' river.
- go to go to.
(TRO 3 2 52)